Research Findings While Giving a Cause a Voice

I have found several ways that a cause has successfully been given a voice. I start with Tom’s whose One for One campaign has not only helped the world by putting 10 million pairs of shoes on children’s feet in over 60 countries it has also restored the sight of over 150,000 through the purchases of TOMS eyewear all by 2011. By the end of 2014, more than 35 states here in the US will receive over 1 Million pairs of new shoes and sight is being restored in 3 states already.

Programs that have made TOMS successful:

  • One Day Without Shoes Campaign: This is a social media campaign where you post a picture of you or a group with the #withoutshoes and a free pair of shoes is given away to a person in need. toms-instagramInstagram as the targeted social media vehicle in 2015.
  • World Sight Day: The annual day to raise awareness for the global issues of poverty and avoidable blindness and visual impairment.toms-glassesTinder as the targeted social media vehicle in 2016. When consumers log in they see this with a caption that says if you can’t see you can’t swipe.
  • Tickets to Give: Gives you an opportunity to join them on a giving trip and distribute TOMS Shoes to children in the field. screen-shot-2012-03-07-at-1-53-14-pm2013 campaign started within the facebook community.

These are just a few of the programs that TOMS has developed to sustain their for profit company that has made an AMAZING impact on Poverty in the world. The statistics are amazing. You can visit the site to see the daily count of people they have helped in this world: http://www.toms.com/. Also the site does an amazing job promoting the value of what they are doing worldwide and how they are making sure that each and every product they manufacture is done with full transparency.

It’s hard to follow suit when you have such an amazing company but I took a look at the (RED) brand. This is a bit different than TOMS as this is a non traditional non profit-corporation relationship.

(RED)’s plan was to engage the private sector in raising money for AIDS treatments in Africa. The basic concept being that companies (or partners) would market and sell products “that were desirable in their own right to generate revenue for a prosocial idea”. Rather than relying on a strictly emotional appeal based on guilt or a feeling of responsibility about the world’s problems, (RED) aimed to “tap into [customers’] consumerism by offering them a (RED) choice.

screen-shot-2010-11-29-at-12-44-09-pm

There was a lot of criticism surrounding this ideology and its use of consumerism to aid in the help and support of a cause when those consumers could just donate directly rather than padding the bottom line. Going a bit further it has also been stated that the (RED) campaign is promoting the idea that consumerism could fix the world’s ills, which I feel is a pretty broad statement. But nonetheless more money has been used on promoting the (RED) products than has been donated to AIDS charities and furthermore, critics argue, (RED) enables companies to profit from Africa’s tragedy.

To combat the criticism (RED) states that Public sector contributions made up the vast majority of money going to the Global Fund, someone needed to find a way to engage the uninterested private sector and cater to their needs and desires in a nonprofit partnership. After doing so those companies that were not contributing before are doing so to a worthy cause and doing good where they weren’t before. When viewed through a broader lens, all of the good things this money made possible, it outweighed the negative aspects of consumerism and the added revenue to partner companies. There was money to treat AIDS in Africa where there was none before.

  • (RED) was successful in building its brand image and raising accurate awareness from 1% before the 2006 launch to 17% just a few months later
  • Today (RED) continues to exceed its goals, recently passing $200 million in raised and donated funds. It is the largest private-sector contributor of the Global Fund to fight AIDS.
  • More than 14 million people have been reached with preventative services – strong evidence that (RED)’s mission towards an AIDS-free generation is possible.
  • According to Rwandan officials, Red contributions have built 33 testing and treatment centers, supplied medicine for more than 6,000 women to keep them from transmitting H.I.V. to their babies, and financed counseling and testing for thousands more patients.
  • South Africa – (RED) money into supported HIV programs has contributed to achieve the following results by December 31, 2014: Provided more than 82,661 people with ARV prophylaxis treatment.

Corporate Advertising Examples Utilizing (RED)

  • Starbucks:Starbucks_WebBanner.jpg6_1starbucks
  • Gap: gap_anne_hathaway_red
  • Converse:imagesred_campaign_the_gap

It is still quite a large debate on how much money has gone into advertising this campaign and if the campaign has injured the light of the cause. There is a fine balance between using a campaign like this or even TOMS to overshadow the true nature of the venture. I think the true simplicity of the one for one is what made TOMS the most productive in its fight against poverty.

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